Molting hawks: McCain, Liz Cheney, Marco Rubio signal opposition to Syria attack

posted at 11:21 am on September 4, 2013 by Allahpundit

Cheney’s a firm no whereas Rubio’s merely “highly skeptical” that an attack will stop Assad from using WMD in the future, but the more big-name hawks balk, the more political cover Republican fencesitters in Congress will have to vote no. Yeah, granted, Boehner and Cantor are both in favor, but they’re not going to whip the caucus to vote with them. If you’re a House GOPer worried about reelection, whom do you care more about pleasing? John Boehner, who’s telling you outright it’s okay to “vote your conscience” on this one? Or grassroots Republicans who don’t want to follow President Redline off a cliff?

Hard to believe that commentator Cheney would be as opposed to this as candidate Cheney is, but under the circumstances, as the would-be tea-party alternative to Mike Enzi, it’s an easy call for her:

Speaking to an enthralled crowd of 150 Jackson Hole Tea Party members Tuesday night in her first public appearance in Teton County, Cheney said she could not support military action against Syria because President Barack Obama has failed to develop a plan for intervention with defined goals.

Obama has taken “an amateurish approach to national security and foreign policy,” including the developing conflict in Syria, she said.

He should have supported Syrian rebel forces two years ago, Cheney said, before Islamist radicals became part of that opposition.

That’s the same sort of dovish-for-hawkish-reasons response that I predicted Rubio would have. How does a pol who believes in “muscular” foreign policy protect his/her brand while riding out an anti-interventionist tide on the right? Simple: Argue that Obama’s big mistake in all this was not intervening sooner, when conditions on the ground were more favorable, but now that the moment has passed it’s too late to act. Rubio made the same point last night, emphasizing that we wouldn’t be at this stage with Syria if he had been president. (If you don’t know what he means by that, revisit this post.) Rand Paul will bludgeon him for that in the primaries — “do we really need a president who thinks the problem with Syria was that we weren’t aggressive enough?” — but Rubio will worry about that later. For now, he needs to show that he’s capable of saying no to an ill-advised attack, then hope that the base tilts back towards hawkishness over the next two years. He’ll have lots of fans among establishment Republicans who’ll be willing to donate to help make the tilt happen.

As for McCain, true to form, he’s unhappy that the new Senate resolution isn’t aggressive enough in empowering Obama to help Syria’s rebels. I wonder, though, if maybe he’s thinking strategically in taking that position. Democrat Chris Van Hollen told WaPo yesterday that one of his big problems in getting House Democrats to support this clusterfark is that they don’t want to be seen as doing something too hawkish. Specifically, said Van Hollen, the more Obama seems aligned with superhawks like McCain, the less Democratic support there’s likely to be. McCain, being aware of that, might then figure that he needs to be pretend-outraged at how dovish the resolution is in order to firm up Dem support. The votes in both chambers are likely to be close; if he’s serious about making something happen, he might need to play bad cop.

Update: Good point from the comments. Does Rubio think it’s too late for an attack, or merely too late for a small attack? That is, would Rubio be okay with a more massive intervention in Syria? Because that’s not “opposition” in any meaningful sense. From his statement last week:

“My advice is to either lay out a comprehensive plan using all of the tools at our disposal that stands a reasonable chance of allowing the moderate opposition to remove Assad and replace him with a stable secular government,” Rubio said. “Or, at this point, simply focus our resources on helping our allies in the region protect themselves from the threat they and we will increasingly face from an unstable Syria.”…

Following Ros-Lehtinen’s lead, Rubio said “we are now left with no good options.”

“Failing to act would further embolden Assad and his Iranian sponsors, leaving the impression that America is feckless and impotent,” Rubio wrote. “And a limited attack would do nothing to change the dynamics of the conflict, but could trigger a broader and even more dangerous conflict in the region.”

A “stable secular government”? From where?

Update: A Rubio spokesman e-mails to clarify: He’s not advocating an attack of any sort, now or previously. He’s supported arming moderate rebel groups in the past.


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There is only authoritarianism versus libertarianism just like Matt Drudge admitted. There is no true difference in action between the two parties.

MoreLiberty on September 4, 2013 at 11:24 AM

Meanwhile Howard Dean wants to bomb Syria.

myiq2xu on September 4, 2013 at 11:25 AM

Rand Paul will bludgeon him for that in the primaries — “do we really need a president who thinks the problem with Syria was that we weren’t aggressive enough?”

AP, he would probably deliver it in those exact words.

Clearly, someone has been doing his homework…

JohnGalt23 on September 4, 2013 at 11:26 AM

No. That is all.

VegasRick on September 4, 2013 at 11:26 AM

As to Liz Cheney, being a hawk doesn’t mean that one is gung-ho for any and every military action. That is ridiculous.

As to McShame and Rubio, they are treasonous, moronic weasels whose opinions about anything are absolutely worthless. They should both be standing trial for their treason in giving aid and comfort to an invading enemy, along with tons of other offenses. They aren’t “hawks”. They’re idiots. Both have already done damage on this issue and are now trying to step back a bit. They should end up with their traitor-in-arms Chris Christie sitting on them and crushing them out of existence.

ThePrimordialOrderedPair on September 4, 2013 at 11:28 AM

Corker is starting to pull back a bit. Wants to delay the vote.

WisRich on September 4, 2013 at 11:30 AM

Rubio is lying again. He did NOT in fact argue that the U.S. should intervene in Syria.

Now in speech he is claiming that that is what he “would have” done. But he didn’t.

kunegetikos on September 4, 2013 at 11:30 AM

Rubio is maintaining his grip as the official GOP windsock, Maverick is simply insane but hasn’t been officially diagnosed yet.

Bishop on September 4, 2013 at 11:32 AM

H/t RushBaby – read every word and really internalize.

Beware of cornered snakes.

Beware of the biggest cornered snake.

Schadenfreude on September 4, 2013 at 11:32 AM

Operation SnakeEgoFark

Schadenfreude on September 4, 2013 at 11:33 AM

Did Liz Cheney get elected to the Senate when I wasn’t looking?

NotCoach on September 4, 2013 at 11:34 AM

This isn’t about whether we should act against Syria, but about the politics of Barack Obama’s utterly failed policy and his attempt to force the GOP to own the debacle he created.

Really, Congress?

Are you really taking this sucker bet?

Really?

You’re willing to bail out President Barack Obama after he’s managed to set the Middle East on fire?

The land of Jeantels, obamaphone-ladies and libfreeordies deserves this destructive snake.

Schadenfreude on September 4, 2013 at 11:34 AM

Marco Rubio signals opposition to Syria attack

BULLSH*T! Don’t be fooled.

Rubio has already said that HE supports WAR with Syria, as oppsed to a “limited attack”.

http://www.miamiherald.com/2013/08/28/3591909/sen-marco-rubios-deafening-silence.html

“Failing to act would further embolden Assad and his Iranian sponsors, leaving the impression that America is feckless and impotent,” Rubio wrote. “And a limited attack would do nothing to change the dynamics of the conflict, but could trigger a broader and even more dangerous conflict in the region.”

Has Rubio suddenly changed his mind – in the span of a week? Doubtful.

ALL of obama’s Republican AMNESTY pushers are also pushing for (the distraction of) WAR with Syria – Funny that.

Pork-Chop on September 4, 2013 at 11:35 AM

I can’t stop laughing – this turd stood there…in Sweden…the land of peace-doves…how much lower could one stoop? Schadenfreude pure!

Stupid cheering world, you wanted him, you got him!

Schadenfreude on September 4, 2013 at 11:36 AM

Heads UP!!
=========

12:00 NOON LIVE SYRIA HEARINGS:

Hearing:

Syria:

Weighing the Obama Administration’s Response
2172 House Rayburn Office Building Washington, DC 20715 | Sep 4, 2013 12:00pm
************

[Click Here for High Resolution Stream]

http://foreignaffairs.house.gov/hearing/hearing-syria-weighing-obama-administration%E2%80%99s-response

canopfor on September 4, 2013 at 11:37 AM

Political poison. Even some Repubs are starting to see this. Obama’s “Save Face” War that he’s no longer responsible for. Wanna bet, Barry?

RobertMN on September 4, 2013 at 11:40 AM

As the Progs suddently grow their war hawk feathers…look at that Peace Prize Plumage..!

d1carter on September 4, 2013 at 11:40 AM

Just say NO!

gophergirl on September 4, 2013 at 11:40 AM

Great headline, AP!

mwbri on September 4, 2013 at 11:41 AM

Did Liz Cheney get elected to the Senate when I wasn’t looking?

NotCoach on September 4, 2013 at 11:34 AM

~~~~~~~~~~

I was wondering the same exact thing.

ellifint on September 4, 2013 at 11:41 AM

Rubio is trying to walk a tight rope made of barbed wire.

His political miscalculations are becoming legendary.

portlandon on September 4, 2013 at 11:42 AM

The ultimate question is what will Obama do if Congress says no on attacking Assad?…

mnjg on September 4, 2013 at 11:44 AM

McCain doesn’t like it because not enough (mostly innocent) people will be killed. Liz Cheney probably feels the same way. Marco Rubio is trying to figure a way for Republicans to love him again so he can be the first Hispanic President.

bw222 on September 4, 2013 at 11:44 AM

Maverick is simply insane but hasn’t been officially diagnosed taken to the creche, yet.

Bishop on September 4, 2013 at 11:32 AM

With much respect

Schadenfreude on September 4, 2013 at 11:45 AM

As for McCain, true to form, he’s unhappy that the new Senate resolution isn’t aggressive enough in empowering Obama to help Syria’s rebels.

Syria doesn’t have rebels. They have Jeffersonian democrats who spend lots of time thanking God. At least that is what we were told at the Kerry/McCain “whose on first” skit yesterday.

Happy Nomad on September 4, 2013 at 11:49 AM

He’s being played by sand-trap dictators, Al Qaeda’s bankers and Russian bad boys like some rube just fallen off the pumpkin truck…but please, go ahead and join him.

QotD

Schadenfreude on September 4, 2013 at 11:49 AM

You’re going to get the stink of his failures and incompetence all over you? Fabulous. Apparently, they don’t call us the stupid party for nothing.

His usual media top-cover seems shaky, his polling is soft, and his own caucus is muttering in discontent. This time, the man with the premature Peace Prize based on sanctimonious, prissy speeches is faced with the brutal realities of his failed policies.

Only the House and Senate GOP can save him.

Schadenfreude on September 4, 2013 at 11:50 AM

There is only authoritarianism versus libertarianism just like Matt Drudge admitted.
MoreLiberty on September 4, 2013 at 11:24 AM

So which side are you on when the state is forcing bakers and photographers to work for gay weddings? Sure sounds like a couple of cases of LessLiberty, don’t you think?

happytobehere on September 4, 2013 at 11:51 AM

Only the House and Senate GOP can save him.

So by all means, throw the man who views you with contempt and has tirelessly sought your political destruction a life preserver.

What could go wrong? Sure, take ownership of his disastrous sorta-strategy and the coming debacle of non-time-sensitive limited-strike, regime-preserving, face-saving semi-kinetic actions. By going Full LBJ (and you never go Full LBJ) and micromanaging the time and extent of strikes, Obama has bounded his options with failure on one side and symbolic action on the other. This plan won’t deter bad guys. It won’t end Assad. A military friend once said, “If you can’t describe the mission in one sentence, it’s not a mission…it’s a clusterf*ck waiting to happen.

Schadenfreude on September 4, 2013 at 11:51 AM

I can’t stop laughing – this turd stood there…in Sweden…the land of peace-doves…how much lower could one stoop? Schadenfreude pure!

Stupid cheering world, you wanted him, you got him!

Schadenfreude on September 4, 2013 at 11:36 AM

As I asked earlier, was he wearing his Nobel Peace Prize like Flava Flav? Because that would be awesome!

Happy Nomad on September 4, 2013 at 11:51 AM

I’m starting to think this is a massive cover story to keep the Obamacare train wreck from eating up headlines.

Premium studies are all showing major increases across the board and are hitting the Dem base the hardest. That will slow up any bid for Kankles H. Clinton to take the throne.

Obamascare’s seemingly mandatory sign-up starts in a few weeks in some highly contested states. Get ready for crickets and squirrel sightings.

So, to rephrase any reporters question Obama-style: What the American people should be most concerned about isn’t this unconstitutional clusterfark we’re shoving down your throats, it’s the pitter patter of little Syrian feet shuffling off to Koran school. Because after all, it’s for the children.

patman77 on September 4, 2013 at 11:52 AM

McCain, being aware of that, might then figure that he needs to be pretend-outraged at how dovish the resolution is in order to firm up Dem support.

That presumes that McCain is playing chess, but my gut tells me that’s not the case. He’s just stupid, very emotional, and naturally bellicose. He always has been like this, and he’s staying true to his colors. His role model is Teddy Roosevelt, and Roosevelt was much the same.

Also, McCain likes to be in the limelight, and I think he’s pleased that he’s able to parade around in the news these days. He had to lie low for a while so that he could get reelected, and I’ll bet that hurt.

Burke on September 4, 2013 at 11:52 AM

Today’s shambolic performance by John Kerry muddied the water further. Either we’re going to strike Assad, drive him from power and send a message echoing down the corridors of history or send him a fruit basket and a sternly worded demarche. Hard to tell.

…or send an e-mail. The NSA will intercept it and it’s way cheaper :)

Schadenfreude on September 4, 2013 at 11:53 AM

I hope he votes against bombing Syria. No good can come from bombing Syria. There is no possible good outcome. It is insanity.

happytobehere on September 4, 2013 at 11:53 AM

Did Liz Cheney get elected to the Senate when I wasn’t looking?

NotCoach on September 4, 2013 at 11:34 AM

If Liz Cheney were in the Senate and didn’t have to face the voters for 5-6 years, you can bet she’d be pro-strike. You can also bet her views on gay marriage would be “evolving.”

Team Liz has done a great job of scrubbing the Internet. Try accessing the group Keep America Safe, which she founded. It’s almost impossible to find.

bw222 on September 4, 2013 at 11:54 AM

First though, allow me to acquaint you with my friend the Nigerian prince, and then we’ll talk about your chance to get in on the ground floor of a bridge investment in New York City.

You think this is about Syria. It’s not. You think this is about Basher Assad gassing his own people. It’s not. Obama’s ego, image, power and legacy motivated this change. The GOP is acting like it didn’t. Obama and his team made this political. The GOP is acting like it’s not.

The transparent political calculation behind it all is so sickening and clumsy: Obama’s people gave away the game early, with his advocates immediately rushing to Twitter Saturday afternoon to spin credulous reporters by framing the Syria question as a political loser for the GOP. It was a warning of bad faith, promptly ignored.

Ding, ding, ding, fools on the R side :)

Schadenfreude on September 4, 2013 at 11:54 AM

You do not fight wars by half-measures, and declaring offensive actions against another Nation is an act of war.

ajacksonian on September 4, 2013 at 11:55 AM

The campaigns on which Barack Obama works the hardest are always about him: that’s the leverage the GOP has, and is blowing. Even if Members want a Syria attack, they should make Obama pay, and pay dearly.

My friends in Congress should realize this: the minute you vote for Obama’s Syrian adventure, you own it. Thomas Friedman’s famous dictum has been used against us for a decade. I’m sure you remember the Pottery Barn Rule: if you break it, you bought it.

…Colon Powell then goes and derides you too, after he, er horse’s azz Kerry this time, sold it to you, fools :)

Schadenfreude on September 4, 2013 at 11:56 AM

It’s like Dusty said in the “red line” thread:

He’s correct about the conclusion. His problem is that to arrive at the conclusion, he has to take the steps in arriving there; he can’t get to the finish line without first running the course.

His problem is that it always has to be about him and it matters not that he doesn’t follow the rules. His life, most notably his tenure as President, is rife with examples of this.

Dusty on September 4, 2013 at 11:10 AM

What is Obama’s process? This is what’s so disturbing to me. How can you follow a leader who is so unpredictable? Is he acting out of steadfast principles? I can understand punishing the use of chemical weapons.

Obama says so much that means nothing. It’s hard to understand him.

Paul-Cincy on September 4, 2013 at 11:58 AM

They’ve already warned you. They’ve already said they’ll use it against you. No matter what goes wrong with the Syria plan, the media will blame you and let Obama slide. They’re really, really good at this game…and honestly…you’re not.

Even if you deeply believe immediate military action in Syria is necessary, you should make Obama pay for it. He needs this cover from you, and he needs it desperately. He’ll appeal to your egos and your patriotism, but he’s the one who needs you. You’ve never had more power. Use it.

Alas, dummies of the world, you in congress, you deserve for this snake to get all your heads knocked out. If you can’t sense his venom, and corner he’s put himself in, you deserve to be deadened by him. In 2014, all who vote for this and amnesty, OUT, OUT, OUT. That includes you Bonerhead.

Schadenfreude on September 4, 2013 at 11:58 AM

Make him climb down off his very, very high horse and sell his Syria plan, direct from the Oval Office. Make him lay out the case with the intelligence informing his strategy. Make him use his considerable campaign skills to move the American people, even if it means burning through his remaining political capital. Make him lay out a plan that isn’t some symbolic wrist slap, and that addresses Iran, Al Qaeda and Israel’s security. Make him explain how this time it’s different than the disasters he helped create in Libya and Egypt.

When it comes to responsibility for the mess in the Pottery Barn of Syria, he broke it…he bought it. Now it’s up to Congress to make him pay for it.

Yeppers, best read all day! Rick Wilson deserves an award.

Thank you RushBaby.

Schadenfreude on September 4, 2013 at 12:00 PM

The ultimate question is what will Obama do if Congress says no on attacking Assad?…

mnjg on September 4, 2013 at 11:44 AM

What he always intended to do, but he’ll blame the congress for all that goes wrong.

This is a Snake like no other.

Schadenfreude on September 4, 2013 at 12:02 PM

I can’t wait for Putin to show Oaf in Chief who is ‘Emperor of the World’ this week :)

Please, dear God, make this stop.

Schadenfreude on September 4, 2013 at 12:04 PM

Rubio made the same point last night, emphasizing that we wouldn’t be at this stage with Syria if he had been president.

Also, if Rubio had been president, he would have been able to conscript those tens of millions of newly-legalized illegal aliens he’d just put on the “path to citizenship.”

“Accelerate your pathway to U.S. citizenship by becoming cannon fodder in another U.S. military intervention in a middle-eastern Muslim $hithole, amigos!”

Now it all makes sense.

AZCoyote on September 4, 2013 at 12:04 PM

patman77 on September 4, 2013 at 11:52 AM

I think that you are on to something. This back and forth over Syria is absolutely taking the eye off the Obamacare ball and every other fiasco following this administration like a stink cloud.

tru2tx on September 4, 2013 at 12:04 PM

Comedy gold watching the Libs diagram their war strategy…like a 3rd grader drawing up an NFL play…

hillsoftx on September 4, 2013 at 12:07 PM

Schadenfreude on September 4, 2013 at 11:32 AM

Oh hell yes. Putin is so gonna spank him. Should leave a mark. God help the rest of us.

onomo on September 4, 2013 at 12:07 PM

C’mon let’s all get behind Operation Ruffled Feathers!!!

PackerBronco on September 4, 2013 at 12:12 PM

Has Rubio suddenly changed his mind – in the span of a week? Doubtful.

ALL of obama’s Republican AMNESTY pushers are also pushing for (the distraction of) WAR with Syria – Funny that.

Pork-Chop on September 4, 2013 at 11:35 AM

He was for it before he was against it.

Someone has to take John F’n Kerry’s place and now we know who it is.

ajacksonian on September 4, 2013 at 12:15 PM

I don’t think McCain is playing any kind of chess…he just lusts for war. Big war.

ellifint on September 4, 2013 at 12:15 PM

McCain is still blowing Obama but he is doing it in a new position.

the more Obama seems aligned with superhawks like McCain, the less Democratic support there’s likely to be. McCain, being aware of that, might then figure that he needs to be pretend-outraged at how dovish the resolution is in order to firm up Dem support.

kunegetikos on September 4, 2013 at 12:23 PM

IN RE: Rubio.

He is the Institutional Republicans flavor of the week, and designated smiter of the TEA Party. He is desperate to regain some credibility with the conservative base that has learned the hard way that he cannot be trusted. Anything he says today about not supporting Obama’s “Gulf of Tartus” resolution to give Obama absolute warmaking powers will be reversed a) as soon as it is passed, and b) as soon as he sits down and has a good conversation with his dear friend and colleague Senator Chuckie Schumer.

Ignore Rubio’s words, they are worthless. Watch Rubio’s actions, because he is a snake.

Subotai Bahadur

Subotai Bahadur on September 4, 2013 at 12:35 PM

A “stable secular government”? From where?

‘xactly. I had to point this out earlier…

is enough to greatly destabilize him.

mnjg on September 4, 2013 at 10:35 AM

Then what, genius?

Resist We Much on September 4, 2013 at 12:35 PM

Liberals reject Obama’s case for Syria strikes; believe Obama and Kerry are lying

‘RAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAACISTS!’ – MSNBC

Comedy gold.

Resist We Much on September 4, 2013 at 12:38 PM

Simple: Argue that Obama’s big mistake in all this was not intervening sooner, when conditions on the ground were more favorable, but now that the moment has passed it’s too late to act.

It’s easy to argue the actual facts.

besser tot als rot on September 4, 2013 at 1:04 PM

Rubio made the same point last night, emphasizing that we wouldn’t be at this stage with Syria if he had been president.

Then I’m very, very grateful that Rubio isn’t president, and hope he never is, because he would have armed the Syrian jihadis a long time ago and even used the US military to fight for Al Qaeda a lot sooner, before the American people were fully informed and knew what was up.

Somebody should inform Rubio that one of the jobs of the POTUS is to make sure the American people are informed about such important matters, and not to promote and take advantage of their ignorance; not to conceal the truth from them while Rubio helps his Al Qaeda affiliated allies take over a country unbeknownst to the American people.

FloatingRock on September 4, 2013 at 1:04 PM

A “stable secular government”? From where?

‘xactly. I had to point this out earlier…

Resist We Much on September 4, 2013 at 12:35 PM

Like what? A Ba’athist regime?

Then what, genius?

Resist We Much on September 4, 2013 at 12:35 PM

Taliban on the Mediterranean.

besser tot als rot on September 4, 2013 at 1:06 PM

Simple: Argue that Obama’s big mistake in all this was not intervening sooner, when conditions on the ground were more favorable, but now that the moment has passed it’s too late to act.

It’s easy to argue the actual facts.

besser tot als rot on September 4, 2013 at 1:04 PM

Let me qualify: I don’t think that Obama’s big mistake was not intervening sooner. But if he was going to intervene at all, sooner would have been when to do it. If there was a case to be made for intervening, it would have had to have been made before our intervention would provide functional comfort and assistance to Al Qaeda.

besser tot als rot on September 4, 2013 at 1:10 PM

I don’t think Americans will care if Syria uses more chemical weapons to kill their own people in a civil war. They just won’t. People used to have this Armageddon type view of chemicals weapons, but such view doesn’t exist anymore since it can barely be determined that they were used.

blink on September 4, 2013 at 1:54 PM

.
There’s not guarantee He Won’t use Chem weapons again- even if he takes some missiles. May even embolden ASSad.
.
Double dog dare ya ?
.
Evil is, as evil does.

FlaMurph on September 4, 2013 at 3:27 PM

Has Rubio suddenly changed his mind – in the span of a week?
Pork-Chop on September 4, 2013 at 11:35 AM

Rubio is a pathological liar. He doesn’t change his mind. He switches lies.

kunegetikos on September 4, 2013 at 4:10 PM

…sure!

KOOLAID2 on September 4, 2013 at 8:51 PM